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Standards Spotlight

Views of Real-World Impact

ANSI shines a spotlight on Standards in action as they support safety, efficiency and well-being in interesting aspects of everyday life.


From Bomb Cyclones to Snowmageddons, Standards Help Us Gear Up for Weather Extremes


A month into winter, many of us have felt the icy blast of winds and other extreme conditions that come with the season. While the weather is familiar, the terms that describe meteorological extremes seem to evolve every year. The New York Times recently published an Extreme Weather Guide article to help navigate the latest climatological verbiage—handy in an extreme climate era. Here are just a few:

  • Bomb Cyclone (also known as Bombogenesis): This weather event occurs when a midlatitude (the latitudes between the tropics and polar regions) cyclone rapidly intensifies, or strengthens, over a 24-hour period. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains, “bombogenesis” can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. It is popularly referred to as a bomb cyclone.


  • Pineapple Express: Not to be confused with the 2008 action comedy, in meteorological terms, a Pineapple Express happens when moisture builds up in the tropical Pacific around Hawaii and hits the U.S. and Canada's West Coasts with heavy rainfall and snow. NOAA explains that prevailing winds cross over warm bands of tropical water vapor to form this "river," which travels across the Pacific as part of the global conveyor belt. By the time it gets to the west coast, the Pineapple Express can dump as much as five inches of rain on California in one day.


  • Polar Vortex: This weather term describes a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles. The National Weather Service notes that a polar vortex always exists near the poles, but weakens in summer and strengthens in winter. While “polar vortex” is not new, the term has grown in popularity in recent years.


Check out more of the extreme weather terms in The New York Times article and other weird weather terminology featured in Time.

Standards support clean up, response, and preparation in a number of weather extremes. ASTM E1996-20, Standard Specification for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors, and Impact Protective Systems Impacted by Windborne Debris in Hurricanes, covers exterior windows, glazed curtain walls, doors, and impact protective systems used in buildings located in geographic regions that are prone to hurricanes. Exterior garage doors and rolling doors are governed by ANSI/DASMA 115 and are beyond the scope of this specification. The standard was developed by a subcommittee on Performance of Windows, Doors, Skylights ,and Curtain Walls operating within ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

For emergency alerts, CTA 2009-B-2010 (R2016), Receiver Performance Specification For Public Alert Receivers, defines minimum performance criteria for consumer electronic products designed to receive SAME alert signals broadcast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Radio network and Environment Canada’s Meteorological Services of Canada Radio network. This standard does not apply to receivers not equipped to receive SAME messages (e.g., tone-alert receivers). The Consumer Technology Association is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

For very snowy situations, sometimes referred to as Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, and even  Snowzilla, the American National Standard (ANS) ANSI B71.3-2005, Snow Throwers - Safety Specifications, provides safety guidelines for a variety of different types of snow throwers, including lawn tractors with snow thrower attachments and walk-behind power snow throwers, making use of these handy devices safer. The ANS was developed by ANSI-accredited standards developer and member the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

No matter what extreme weather condition we’re facing during the seasons, standards add safety and security to our lives.